National Geographic : 1961 Aug
KODACHROME() NATIONAL GEOGRAPHICSOCIETY Since the 1950's, I have tried to hike these mountains each year, in either summer or fall. Last year I revisited this region for a week's hike with George Hamilton, Paul Doherty, State conservation officer, Lee Kelley of the U. S. Forest Service, and Kathleen Revis of the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC staff, who made the photographs on these pages. Before the five of us set out, George and I swung our legs on the porch rail at rustic Pinkham Notch Camp- headquarters for the AMC hut system-and discussed the visi tor influx of recent years. "These mountains are now within a day's drive for 40 million people," he said. "We have visitors every month of the year - nearly two and a half million a year altogether. "November brings hunters as well as hik ers," he continued. "From December to June, skiers and hardy winter climbers take over the slopes. Summer and fall, thousands of hikers take to the trails." Since the first hut was built, on the shoul der of Mount Madison in 1888, the AMC's hut system has grown with the crowds. "Today it's a chain-hotel business in mini ature," said George. "We prepare between 40,000 and 45,000 meals each year." Huts Spaced for Week-long Tour The seven huts, together with the head quarters camp at Pinkham Notch, represent an investment of more than a quarter of a million dollars. The huts are so located along the ridges and cols that a hiker can plan a week-long itinerary, staying at a different one each night; or he can simply choose one as a destination and hike up in an afternoon.